Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption rights apply to the periods of absence granted to parents both before and after the birth or adoption of their child. They exist to provide parents with the time needed to maintain their family responsibilities while still retaining their right to return to work. And, although this form of leave was once limited to women employees, paternity and adoption leave are now statutory rights for fathers, adoptive parents and same-sex partners.

This factsheet provides an introduction to maternity and paternity rights, including the leave, pay and associated benefits both before and after childbirth. It outlines shared parental leave for parents of babies born on or after 5 April 2015. It also looks briefly at adoption rights, which are now broadly in line with statutory maternity leave and pay. Lastly, the factsheet offers guidance for employers on implementing, monitoring and reviewing these policies.

CIPD viewpoint

The context for maternity, paternity and adoption rights

Maternity rights

Paternity rights

Adoption rights

Guidance for employers

Useful contacts and further reading